Accessible Widget

December 22, 2014

Top 10 posts of all time!

Happy Holidays From the Disability Action Hall!

Calgary Action Plan Feedback on City budget with Mayor Naheed Nenshi, October 2014
We wish you a safe and happy holiday season!

Since the Disability Action Hall has been sharing our news in the social media world, our gift to you is to share what you all thought were the top posts of all time!

So please re-visit the stories listed below to explore our last year of telling stories, taking action and changing lives!

(What's fabulous is most of our posts you liked were in 2014!)

Thanks again for visiting our page to learn about our work and we look forward to 2015 and creating many ways we can all work together to help move social justice forward in our communities!

Happy New Year!!!

Members of the Disability Action Hall

December 19, 2014

Lets talk about sex... and disability! Reflections on 'Fully Functional'

Members of the Right 2 Love Group got together to talk about "Fully Functional" a performance about sex and disability. 

“Courageous, relate-able, brave, roller coaster, stampede, commitment, opinionated, freedom, liberating, sensuous, steamy, serious, amusing, fun, challenging, humbling, eye-opening, humanizing, pleasure, mind-blowing, fear, boundary pushing.”
-Poem by the Right 2 Love Group

Fully Functional, a performance about sex and disability, photo by Chantal Wall

A few months back playwrights Col and Mark came to the Right to Love Group and asked us “What really needs to be in upcoming Fully Functional Performance regarding sexuality and disability?” When Right to Love members shared their ideas , we were delighted to see how the earlier conversations were woven into the personal stories of the performers held from December 3rd until December 6th at the Pump house Theatre in Calgary, Alberta.

 “Fully Functional” is a show that blends dance and storytelling in order to tell a story of sex, disability and sensuality that rarely gets talked about. The show played to nearly sold out audiences including during the International Day of Disabled Persons. Col reported at the end of the each performance most of the audience members also stayed for the talk back to ask questions of the artists. “It felt like the talkbacks could have gone on longer” says performer Thomas Poulsen. “The show also created safety in an interesting active way and became a place for people to stand up and share their experience with something personal” says Diana Wark of the Calgary Sexual Health Centre, a sex positive organization that partners with the Right to Love Group. “Many of our staff attended the performance and were excited by what they saw, thrilled to watch and everyone loved it as it pushed people out of their comfort zones. The audiences supportive understanding and at time were in tears, showed us how much we as a society moved forward in the last five to seven years listening to the vast amount of experiences of sex and disability.”

Mary Salvani spoke of how some of her friends did not understand the full impact of Albertans still needing a doctor’s note to get married under the current marriage act: “People learned may also affect a person with mental health, it was a good conversation. My class talked about it for hours after the performance.”

“I feel like it is not really over” echoes another performer, Emily Hutcheon. “Many people ask when the play is going to happen again or if it the play is going to be published. There seems to be a lot of interest to share these stories and the many untold stories of people.” Stephen Henry also had this to say about performing in the show “This feels like home. The theater was someplace to hang out, be in the show and sort of like buying a house, packing up and having to move out.”

Congratulations to all the performers and collaborators! 

If you are interested in supporting more stories being told about healthy sexuality, people can contact Momo and Inside Out Theatre to help with the next steps. And if you want more sex positive information, counselling and workshops about healthy sexuality, please feel free to contact the Calgary Sexual Health Centre.

To learn of the next steps of Fully Functional and collaboration of the artists, visit Inside Out Theatre and MoMo Dance Theatre.

Links to Media Coverage of Fully Functional: 

Fully Functional Starts a Conversation About Disability, Sexuality, and Society by Rodrigo Flores, December 11, 2014


Fully Functional blends dance and storytelling to explore disability and sexuality by Stephen Hunt, Calgary Herald, December 2nd, 2014 

December 12, 2014

Secondary Suites Policy December 15th

Just a reminder, City Council will be reviewing its secondary suites policy this coming Monday, December 15th. Here is a link to the report. 

There is still some time to share what you think about secondary suites by visiting the Calgarians for Secondary Suites website

Here is our letter which we sent in December 9th. 
Letter of support from the Disability Action Hall

November 25, 2014

Thank you City Council!

Member's of the Disability Action Hall are very pleased and encouraged by the freezing of the low-income transit pass!

We are encouraged City Council wants to align all fares across the life spectrum. A mere $ 3 increase means a great deal to people living on low-income in our costly City. We wish to thank Council and Calgary Transit for listening to the need to create a fare structure based on need and we look forward to talking more about solutions for the new year in 2015. 

Read what Tammy told Metro News by following this link!  and to watch Global TV news coverage watch this link

November 24, 2014

Crossing fingers to freeze Low-Income Monthly Transit Pass for 2015

Members of the Disability Action Hall attended Calgary budget talks on Monday, November 24th, 2014 to ask Council to freeze the low-income transit pass until we have a better idea what people can afford to pay. Public consultations and a report is due back to Council by September, 2015. 

In the meantime, Council deciding how to set these fares without enough data presents a huge barrier for people with limited income. Currently the subsidy program does not track how much a person earns, only if their income is below the low-income cut off which in 2012 was less than $23, 252 a year.

In July, Council decided to freeze "the seniors annual $ 15 low-income pass and $95 annual seniors transit pass" for 2015 when seniors heard it may increase. Age seems to be a determining factor as to how deep a discount should be, yet a seniors income is not tracked by the City. We need to improve the data in order to help Council set fares and subsidies at an affordable rate for the rider, transit and the taxpayer.

Meanwhile, last month nearly 10,000 people who are eligible for a $ 44 monthly low-income transit pass did not buy one. Hall members don't understand why people went to the trouble to apply for the subsidy and are not buying it. However our talks with community tell us $ 44 a month or $ 528 a year (97% higher than what seniors living on low-income pay) says Tammy Poirier "The pass is just too expensive. I don't know if I will be able to leave the house if the pass keeps going up and up."

We hope Council will freeze the discounted fares. The budget debates are expected to run until Friday. 

Stay tuned! 

Media Coverage

"Concerns over rising costs for Calgarians in budget plans" Global News
 "Calgary transit advocates call for more hours, low-income riders urge monthly fares Metro News

"Some fear they could be left behind as council debates new budget"

 66 CFR Radio

Below are photos and the letter we shared at City Council. 

Tammy speaks to media about freezing the $44 a monthly discounted pass until the City figures out the sliding scale (people paying what they can afford). Her  husband who is a senior pays only $ 95 a year, and some seniors pay as little as $ 15 a year, Council froze the prices for seniors until 2016. Tammy pays $ 528 a year.  

Brodie and Brad spoke about freezing the monthly discounted $ 44 pass. Brodie says  98% of his use of transit are essential trips, only 2% of his trips are for personal use. 

Our Letter to Calgary City Council: 

Members of the Disability Action Hall commend City Council earlier this year when the sliding scale concept was presented. We are here to speak in support of providing additional dollars to Calgary Transit to freeze the low-income transit pass for the following reasons:

To begin by quoting Councillor Stevenson, “I can still not understand why someone living on $1500 a month should be treated different if they are 55 or 65.”For your knowledge and reference, in October 2014 for the Citizens who have been approved by transit and want to ride more than four times a week, nearly 10,000 people did not buy a pass in October. 

As a reminder during this discussion in Council in July 2014, Councillors decided to freeze the seniors pass. The budget report before you have no change in prices to the seniors passes. To quote Councillor Farrell “People across the life spectrum struggle equally to make ends meet” We ask to freeze the low-income transit pass just as you have for the seniors who pay $ 1.25 a month.

As you may also know, the budget before you does not reflect an alignment of all discounted transit fares nor does the budget that aligns with the fairness principles of the Fair Calgary Policy. Councillor Diane Colley-Urquhart  said “The City should practise “reverse discrimination” Many people, especially members of the Disability Action Hall are permanently disabled and typically can do very little to improve their financial situation.

We also ask to freeze the low-income transit pass until the sliding scale review, report and recommendations come before Council September 2015. 

We also understand through our recent conversations with Calgary Transit, the data to help set this sliding scale may not be available until after the 2014 Notice of Assessment is completed and when people start to renew the passes; currently the challenge is while eligibility of income is checked, the income is not recorded on the single entry form at this time. We ask council not to raise the transit pass price without a full understanding of implications of even modest raise at this time.

We ask to please hit the pause button for low-income transit fares.  Given we do not have much data other than nearly 40% of the people who apply for the LITP in October did not buy one. It is in the best interest to freeze the pass until we know more data and to prevent unforeseen hardship, social isolation as typically the highest amount of sales for passes occur during cold climate months.

The community has told us that even at $ 44 a month. They cannot afford to buy it. Raising the low-income transit pass to another unaffordable rate counters the City’s commitment to policies of accessible and inclusive communities. By freezing the pass we are excited that another 10,000 people will contribute revenue to Calgary Transit and the community.

Thank you for your time and consideration to freeze the low-income transit pass until the sliding scale report is completed.

Colleen Huston
On behalf of the Disability Action Hall
Markusoff, July 28th, “Council Grapples with Seniors Pass” Calgary Herald

November 17, 2014

Holiday Party!!

Its that time of year! Mark your calendars and hope you cna join us for our holiday party on Thursday, December 11 from 5 to 8 pm. Please RSVP to Amanda

Holiday Party Thursday December 11, 2014

October 31, 2014

Ending violence is a community solution

Members of the Disability Action Hall were saddened by the news of the recent CBC news story aired on October 28th, 2014 where a woman with an intellectual disability was sexually assaulted on a city bus while her caregiver sat nearby unaware wearing headphones. Many of the Hall members know all too well bullying and harassment on a bus is nothing new for person who lives with an intellectual disability. 

Tammy, Mary and Sue are members of the Disability Action Hall and wanted to share what is it like to ride transit as a women with a disability and that there are solutions to enhance safety for everyone.

Safety on Buses

Safety on transit is an issue for many persons with intellectual disabilities whether you have a staff with you or not." says Mary Salvani. “Based on my experience on using Calgary Transit, the straps and tie downs should be easier to access as not many people have an aid with them; my walker has almost hit people as I cannot secure it safely. One time a passenger offered to help me secure my walker, but even they couldn’t because the belts were locked in and we could not pull them out. It is difficult to tie the walker by yourself as it is hard to reach, transit needs to inspect the straps each day when the buses are cleaned."

Is Calgary Transit really providing a safe ride if the devices are not working well?  

The para-transit service known as 'Access Calgary' provides just some of their customers with an emergency back up service in the event the service is late or a person fails to be at the door at time of pick-up. The solution? 'Access Calgary needs to provide all customers with reduced mobility with a backup ride or emergency card; everyone needs to be safe and have a reliable means to get home. Everyone needs a backup.” says Mary.

Reliable Transit and Back up plans

“In Calgary, safe, reliable public transportation can be very difficult when you have a reduced mobility,” says Tammy Poirer-Crosby. "Passengers always need a back-up plan like the Ace Card & a cell phone when using Access Calgary services. As a woman with a reduced mobility, it is far too easy to be a target on public transportation using accessible devices like a wheelchair or walker. You cannot get away as quick. And in the cases if a person with an intellectual disability may take public transit and who may have a hard time advocating for themselves, staff should near them at all times.”

When Hall members learned the person on Winnipeg Transit was caught on video taped and now charged...they said they are thankful most buses have video cameras.  “I know the bus driver needs to drive the bus, but maybe there needs to be a help button at the back of the bus if a person cannot get to the front of the bus safely or is in danger of being dragged off the bus? Are there cameras in the back of the bus?” asks Sue Bente.

Staff Training and Healthy Sexuality Training for People with Disabilities

Bullying, harassment and sexual harassment don't just happen in the classroom. Staff training and hiring certified workers are necessary for people of all ages. Encouraging people with disabilities and their staff to take healthy sexuality courses at the Calgary Sexual Health Centre where people can learn how to recognize dangerous situations, and talk about what consent looks like are just one of the many solutions needed to start reducing violence. "People have to be taught how to learn to trust that 'sick feeling' in your stomach." says Mary.

Standing Up to Violence as a Community

“We all need to watch out for each other” says Sue,“We need to step in when someone is having a problem with someone. People may not want to get involved or invite trouble their way but its time we look out for one another.”

Ending violence against persons with disabilities is a community solution. People need to feel safe in the neighborhoods and using public services. 

Members of the Disability Action Hall would like you to know November is Family Violence Prevention' month. An event known as “Break the silence” #breakthesilenceyyc kicks off this Saturday. Much like the Hall Members, the Calgary Domestic Violence Collective and their partners want to see violence reduced not just in the home, and everywhere else too. The Calgary Domestic Violence Collective is kicking off the awareness month at SouthCentre Mall starting at 10 am until 2 pm, on Saturday, November 1st. Visit their website to learn more about how we can all break the silence.

October 10, 2014

Support sliding fee scale as next step for an affordable City

Members of the Action Hall supported transits report for the City to look at a sliding fee scale as another tool to create reduced fares that work for all Calgarians. The report will then be talked about at a larger council meeting on Monday,  November 3rd.

We are encouraged the standing policy committee supported the report for the conversations to continue unanimously! 

Here is our letter of support to the standing policy committee...

RE: Letter of Support TT2014-0768Sliding Scale Fee from Calgary Transit

Members of the Disability Action Hall wish to express their gratitude to City Council, Fair Calgary and Calgary Transit for continuing to ensure the transit fee structure poses few barriers for citizens who require a reduce fee to connect to our City. The ‘Sliding Fee Scale’ is a logical next step to ensure our fare structure and City subsidies are available to all Citizens.

We applaud the ask for Community Neighbourhood Services request to assist with cutting down red tape and making single entry possible, and the creation of a 50% discounted single fare as part of the mid-term solution to ensure Calgarians can connect with transit. We also support the next step to take the time to create a community solution for a sliding scale that will align to the Sustainability 2020 Direction, the Route Ahead Strategy and City Budget.

The solutions to address complex problems such as access to our City services are varied. We wish to acknowledge our City’s active role and history of understanding barriers when present themselves; Back in 1973, before there was no federal program to help seniors thrive, our City understood a plan was needed to help people ride the bus, hence a reduced annual pass was created. Through initiatives like the Calgary Poverty Reduction Initiative, we have re-gained a collective conscience that the face of poverty has changed, and now we can re-look at good ideas of the 70s and with the use technology, tools, community consultation, policy grounded in human rights to assist our decision makers and business units we will continue to create solutions which are truly accessible, and work for all Calgarians.

We look forward to continue our work with Calgary Transit and Fair Calgary and report back in the near future with a community based solution that works for all Citizens. 

 Members of the Disability Action Hall 

October 6, 2014

What we love about the City of Calgary's Plan for 2014-2018

On September 11th members of the Disability Action Hall held a world cafe about what mattered to persons with disabilities when talking about the YYC Council Plan for 2015-2018. 

We then wrote a report and shared some highlights of what it means to be included, health and safety and accessibility with the Mayor of Calgary in the form of coveralls to commemorate City Council's tireless efforts of working hard for our City, (in particular the last two natural disasters of the flood and September snowfall). 

Thanks to Katie and Amanda's hard work making this possible! We hope you like the coveralls Mayor Nenshi! 

September 25, 2014

Poverty Rocks... or does it?

Poverty Rocks! 

Or does it?

Come and check out our rock garden entry at the Hillhurst Sunnyside Harvest Fair, Wednesday, October 1st from 3 to 7 pm

The 'Poverty Rocks Garden' will be on display at the Hillhurst Sunnyside Harvest Fair Wednesday, October 1st   The 'food for thought design' is  inspired by the United Nations ‘International Day to Eradicate Poverty on Friday, October 17th

Harvest goers will be encouraged to hunt for clues in the rock garden in order to win eventbrite tickets leading up to the “We Act – Powered by Pechakucha”; A lunchtime event at the Glenbow Museum where among the fabulous speakers, some of the folks are also from the Disability Action Hall will share one action we can do about poverty in Calgary in a matter of 6 minutes and 40 seconds! Whew! 

'We Act' is pleased to announce the financial support from a Neighbour Grant from the Calgary Foundation and in partnership with Vibrant Communities Calgary, Disability Action Hall and the Calgary Ability Network. To learn more about the event, please visit "Poverty Talks" facebook page! 

Wanna know a secret?
Tickets are free when you register on-line on Event brite! (But we didn’t tell ya!) 

August 21, 2014

Amend the Marriage Act Petition

Not everyone has equal opportunity to get married.
Did you know 'Represented Adults need a doctor's note?
Sign our Petition today! 

Right 2 Marry

Support marriage equality for all!

Tell Service Alberta and Vital Statistics to reduce the red tape for dependent adults in Alberta to get married.

  • Did you know not everyone has marriage equality in Alberta? 
  • Did you know dependent adults still need a doctor’s note to get married and a guardian's consent? Marriage Act, section 27, part 2

A doctor's note creates more red tape; costs money, more forms, and many Albertans today do not have access to a family doctor. 
The Right to Love group believes guardian's consent is enough for adults who are protected under the dependent adult act to get married. 
We all have the right to love! 

Help us raise awareness! Sign and share our petition to let the Service Alberta Minister and Deputy Minister know its time to review and update the Marriage Act. 

Thank you for helping us with the Right 2 Love in Alberta! 

July 31, 2014

Lovin N Pubbin, Join us!

We hope you join members of the Right to Love for our summer mix and mingle! 

Join us at the Cat N Fiddle on 
Thursday, August 21st 
beginning at 4 pm until 7 pm. 

  • Appetizers provided, bring some cash to pay for for your drinks! 
  • RSVP as soon as we can to reserve space for you. 
  • Leave a message at 403.717.7630 
  • or drop us a line on our email

See you there! 

July 25, 2014

Is affordable transit only meant for Seniors?

Members of the Hall are crossing fingers Calgary City Council will stop providing special discounts for one vulnerable age group and not the other. Transit fares are becoming increasingly more costly & may move beyond reach of Calgarians who need accessible, affordable transit. 

Two ways we see how to address the affordability is to:

-Introduce a single ride fare at 50% of the adult single fare and
-Create a sliding scale for the many Calgarians regardless of age, cannot afford a transit pass beginning at $ 54 a year based on income. 

Evidence shows many persons aged 35-44 volunteer the most (figure 1) and are also part of the work force facing extreme barriers to better jobs with better pay (figure 2). 

Over the last week members of the Disability Action Hall shared with City Council while we are grateful for the $ 44 a month pass, it is no longer affordable, meanwhile poverty groups feel discriminated against despite pleas for the latest fare strategy to be based on affordability & fairness, yet transit and some City Councillors continues to provide only affordable rate discounts for seniors.
Age 35 to 44 volunteer most at nearly 63%
Figure 1: Ages 35 to 44 Volunteer the most according to Statistics Canada 

The proposed fare strategy is counter-intuitive to the City of Calgary's  Sustainability Direction targets of equity, and prosperous economy. The fare strategy may end up creating more barriers to employment and for people to contribute to the economy and society. Giving one privileged group better discounts based on age and not on fairness principles such as social inclusion and income as outlines in the current Fair Calgary City Policy.  The current fare strategy only pits one vulnerable group against the other. 

Figure Two: Majority of citizens earning less than $15 an hour are ages 25-44 years of age

If you think we need more a more simple, fair fare structure, please call 311 or write your Councillor a letter prior to Monday, July 28th, 2014. 


Kolkman, John, Joseph Ahorro and Bill Moore-Kilgannon, Achieving the promise of ending poverty in Alberta. (Alberta College of Social Workers, Public Interest Alberta  and Edmonton Social Planning Council; November 2012). Available at: